- Product Punks
- Product Management Misconceptions Holding You Back
Product Management Misconceptions Holding You Back
Hello fellow punks!
Welcome to the 25 of you who have signed up for this since the last issue. It’s great to have you on board. Hopefully you’ll stick with me while I figure out what this newsletter is all about.
Here’s this week’s issue ⬇️
Product management misconceptions stopping you being successful 🧐
Nine product management misconceptions that are holding you back:
Product managers make all the decisions
As a product manager it's your job to make sure the right decisions get made—not make all the decisions.
Give your team the clarity and context they need to make decisions themselves.
You need a CS degree to be a great PM
Your technical skills don't determine your success as a product manager.
Technical chops are useful if you've got them, but they're not essential.
PMs need to be experts in their domain
You don't have to know anything about fintech to be a great fintech product manager.
Sometimes, having no experience is a benefit rather than a hindrance.
If you don't know anything, then you're free to question everything.
It's the product manager's job to come up with all the ideas
It's the job of the PM is to discover the most valuable problems to solve for their customer.
It's up to the product team to come up with the most valuable solutions.
PMs need to be available all the time
One of your most important jobs as a PM is keeping your team unblocked.
That doesn't mean you need to be ready to jump the minute they message on Slack, though.
You need to make sure you're carving out time for deep work.
The product manager writes the user stories
Writing user stories is a job for the whole product team, not just the product manager.
If you're a product manager writing them to hand over to engineering, you've got a problem.
Product managers build what their customer asks for
The Henry Ford "faster horses" quote might be apocryphal, but there's definitely some truth to it.
Your customers won't be able to tell you what they need—it's your job as a PM to discover it.
Product management is all about shipping features
The next feature you add isn't going to be the one to turn everyone into engaged users.
To be successful, you've got to solve a handful of problems in ways that are good enough to make people want to pay for them.
Product managers are the CEOs of their product
Regardless of what Ben Horowitz might've said more than two decades ago, the product manager isn't the CEO of their product—the CEO is.
Product management proverbs to keep front of mind 🧠
George from prodmgmt.world was kind enough to put together this thread of some of my tweets.
Hopefully it's helpful 👇
12 Product Management Proverbs From the One and Only @tobiasrogers
Memorise them, pin them, keep them in mind as you go through your day.
Here they are:
— George from 🕹prodmgmt.world (@nurijanian)
Oct 14, 2022
My favourite tweets of the week 🐦
There's been so much great product management content on Twitter this week that it was hard to pick out my favourites, but here goes 👇
Your product doesn't just need to be desirable, it needs to be ethical
It’s not enough to ask whether you can do an idea. You need to also ask yourself whether you should? Is it the right thing to do?
As product people we have a responsibility to make sure what we build isn’t just desirable, viable and feasible…but that’s it’s ethical as well.
— Ant Murphy (@ant_murphy)
Oct 14, 2022
Silence rarely means alignment
One of my favorite operating norms we’ve adopted is “silence is dissent.”
If someone isn’t commenting on your work, presume they 1) disagree 2) don’t think it matters or 3) don’t understand until proven otherwise.
Silence rarely means alignment.
— claire vo 🖤 (@clairevo)
Oct 12, 2022
One software product for every year since 1977
One software product from every year since 1977, in chronological order.
1977: VisiCalc, the “killer app” for Apple II
— Aakash Gupta 🚀 Product Growth Guy (@aakashg0)
Oct 12, 2022
Running experiments to kill features
Last week I learned that Instagram has a team only running experiments to kill features. They call it "unshipping". This make so much sense.
— Alex ⚫️ (@alexanderhipp)
Oct 7, 2022
When PMs ask for estimates
Engineering Team, when PMs ask for estimates.
— Stephanie Leue (@stephanie_leue)
Oct 10, 2022
What I've been reading 📚
In product development, it's impossible to fix resources, scope and time. But that won't stop your stakeholders from trying.
Here's a great article on how to deal with the messy triangle that rules all software projects:
Agreeing on what to deliver and by when can be challenging. Revisiting the classic product management concept with a fresh take & real-life examples.
Product sense is something that comes up a lot in product management discussions online. But what is it, exactly? Is it a trait or a skill?
Marty Cagan has some thoughts:
A partnership dedicated to teaching best practices to product teams and product leaders
I re-read Ben Horowitz's legendary Good Product Manager / Bad Product Manager article again this week.
Twenty-five years after it was first written, it still stands up as a great overview of what being a PM is all about (apart from the CEO of the product bit):
Warning: This document was written 15 years ago and is probably not relevant for today’s product managers. I present it here merely as an example of a useful training document.
Good product managers know the market, the product, the product …
See you next week (probably).
The Punk PM
P.S. Feel free to share this with anyone else you think would find it interesting.
I’m still playing around with ideas for content and format for this newsletter, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on the new structure. Go ahead and shoot me an email with ways you think I can make it better.